Memoirs of an East End Guttersnipe
Tales of the old Iron Pot

by Brian Walker

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Brian's SECOND book 'The Love Of My Life' is now also available!

book cover love of my life cover

Available from Amazon. Paperback and eBook editions.


“I've just finished reading 'Tales of the Old Iron Pot' by Brian Walker and every page had me smiling or else choking back a nostalgic tear. This is so much more than a memoir of Brian's colourful life, it's a social document charting an age of relative innocence that has been sadly left behind. The later chapters bring the early days of Chats Palace vividly alive thanks to Brian's effortless, self-effacing prose. It's a warts-and-all approach and I loved the accounts of failed events and mishaps even more than the obvious triumphs. Over the years there has been a lot of rumination about the possibility of a definitive book being written about the phenomenon that was Chats. I've even been approached about it myself but I know I couldn't do a better job than this. The chapters about Brian and Pam's early life together overlooking Chatsworth Road market are told with a huge amount of warmth and wit and the book ends with a wonderfully tender and moving tribute to the drag queens of yesteryear with whom he shared many a stage. Even if you never heard of Chats Palace this is a bloody good read. Get yourself a copy.”
David Richard Fox

The Tribe

The beginning!
Home Again
A Secret Weapon
Not in Front Of the Kids
My Old Man
What I Am Today
A Surprise Visit
VE Day
Tilly of the Valley
Send for Sid
Better Times
Some Enchanted Evening
The Tribe
Knees-ups and Ding-Dongs
Hannah Walker
Nanny Isaacs

Other Stories

The River Lea
The New Boy
Big Sid and Little Sid
Welsh Wales
Happier Times
Some Other Enchanted Evening

The Famous, Infamous and ‘Who?’

May Nelson
Janey Pepper'ole and the Great Battle of Lea Bridge
Indian Pete and Woggles
Biddy Amor
Kitty Shears
Tex Withers: The Clapton Cowboy
Lea Bridge Rock
The Greatest Show On Earth!
The Teddy Boy Years

The thought of writing my memoirs had never entered my head, after all what would an ordinary bloke like me have to talk about that other people might find interesting? My mate, Laurence Payne suggested it and I immediately laughed, "It's not so silly " he said, "after all you don't stop telling stories of the Old East End and other Tales of bygone days," or as my old Dad would say 'Tales of the old iron pot'

After a week or so of contemplating the possibility, I began to talk myself into it. Some 16 year old bum-fluffed pop stars, just out of knickers (short trousers) have written their 'Life Stories' that seem to adorn the racks in Tescos and W H Smiths etc. complete with covers showing their pimply, grinning blank faces. So I told myself I've had more experiences than them, so all I've got to do is make it more interesting than they do. "No Contest!" I heard myself shouting. So here we are...

"Where are we?" I hear you cry, …well we are at the beginning of my trawl through various memories and stories of events throughout my long life. Some of these anecdotes I can remember distinctly, some a little hazy, some are memories passed down to me that I somehow think happened to me and some are downright exaggerations stretched beyond belief just to add a bit more interest to them. Sorry but there is not a prize for spotting the gilding of the lilies, but honestly they are all based on things that did happen.

hammonds cottages
Historic picture of Middlesex Wharf showing Hammonds Cottages, ancestral home of the Walkers


I would like to thank my cousin Denise Cushway for supplying precious photos of Johnno, and my Cousin Jan Packer for some of the older photos and details family members passed down to her. She is compiling a family tree and has been an inspiration to me. Most of all I want to thank Laurence Payne for convincing me that I should write these tales, his enthusiasm and encouragement have given me the kick up the rear that I needed from time to time. He is also responsible for the technical and visual impact of this website, I would also like thank him for the fun that we had putting this together.

Other interesting places to visit: - The View From The Bridge

weird-and-wonderful-east-london ...and their  Facebook page